Edna’s Story 21 (FGK 138)

I arranged for Sheila and Marshall to ride down the two miles north to the Brushy Ridge road and tie their horses in the brush and be picked up by Mrs. Wark who was driving her children to Brushy Ridge School every day. They attended Brushy Ridge for Marshall’s grade 3 and Sheila’s grade 5 in 1945-46. Margi was old enough to start school in 1946 and they had a steady teacher, Miss Thomas, in Jumping Pound School so the children started there again. We bought a lovely little horse for Marshall from Freda Permal and called him “Pinkie”, and Margi rode Buck. Nicoll’s had a field of grain planted just opposite our house and Buck sure loved to swipe his share of that when riding by. Margi was so tiny she had quite a struggle climbing on. Sometimes Buck would get impatient and swing his head around and boot her on with his nose. I think Clarance has a picture of him doing this. Then Ellen Norris came to board here in 1946-47 and rode to school with the kids, teaching in Jumping Pound School. We felt fortunate to have her and enjoyed that year. But in the fall of 1948 Miss Demisick came to teach but left mid-term and we were very fortunate to persuade Mr. O’Brien to come and teach in Jumping Pound.

Mr. O’Brien did so much for the children and the social life in the district it is difficult to tell just how far reaching his influence really spread. He had been a sergeant major in the army, a scoutmaster of many years experience and had taken a course in drama. All these talents and experiences were put in action immediately and the students experienced the unaffected pleasure of discipline, responsibility, and a scope for their own create originality. The fame of the Jumping Pound Christmas concerts was so wide spread the community hall had crowds far beyond its seating capacity, standing room only. I remember one concert where one part was a quadrille on the stage by the students to the tune of a current favourite at the time “Buttons and Bows”. The crowd just went hilarious, stomped their feet, clapped their hands, and sang their loudest. Another time he used an Alberta artist’s talent of a play taken from the book “Johnnie Chinook” a local story. And it was a big success. He formed a Red Cross Society among the students, made them elect their own president and other officers in the correct parliamentary procedure. All this besides their regular schoolwork. And for the first time the students learned how to enjoy well organized sports at recess. Every so often the students would invite the parents to the school and entertain them by having them take part in spelling matches etc. We became involved in many of the students’ activities, especially helping with the concerts and enjoyed the social life to match. The annual school picnic was an elaborate affair where presentations were made to students graduating etc. All the speeches and work was done by the students themselves.

Mr. O’Brien would just stand in the background. But the results of his guidance were made manifest in so many ways. For a little one room rural school house the ultimate achievements of most of its graduates is quite impressive. Six ended up with a degree in education, one her R.N, one a B.A. LL.B., one a B.Sc. M.A., Ph.D and five were graduates of an agricultural college.


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